Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Movie: Little Children (2006)

I’ve wanted to see Todd Field’s film, based on a novel by Election author Tom Perrotta, for weeks. But it was booked into the one theater in Seattle that I refuse to patronize. Originally one of the Keith-Albee-Orpheum Vaudeville Houses for Undernourished Children, the theater has seats so small that whenever I go there both of my knees lock. I hoped a few Oscar nods would nudge the movie into a place with legroom.

The nominations came in – for actress Kate Winslet, supporting actor Jackie Earle Haley, and the script by Field and Perrotta – the movie was sprung, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a terrific piece of work, easily one of the best films of the year. Great performances and sharp observations about life in the suburbs. The movie has plenty of chances to veer into melodrama but never slips. I was particularly bowled over by the script, which uses an omniscient third person multiple viewpoint voiceover. It’s a novelistic technique that shouldn’t work but somehow does.

TV: American Idol

I’m taking a pass on this season. Blame buyer’s remorse for my Taylor Hicks vote. But I couldn’t avoid hearing about the Seattle auditions, which apparently featured the worst performances in AI’s history. No less an authority than Entertainment Weekly said that the show’s trip to the Emerald City “sometimes crossed the line into outright cruelty.” So how does Washington State respond?

With an American Idol instant lottery game.

I wish the site featured the radio spot, in which the game’s rules are sung in the style of somehow who auditioned for the show here.

Miscellaneous: Links

The New York Times on Noir City 5. Next year. I swear.

Booze news: Murray Stenson, who’s poured me many a cocktail at the Zig Zag Café, has been named one of America’s 10 best bartenders by Playboy. (The article is safe for work, but I can’t vouch for the ads.) Murray’s Liberal, singled out in the piece, truly is heaven in a glass. And Audrey Saunders of the Pegu Club, where I bend an elbow when visiting New York, also made the grade. Stick with me, kids. I’ll take you to all the best places.